Hempstead, N.Y. - The Hofstra softball team will put a 14-game winning streak on the line when the Pride host Central Connecticut State in a doubleheader on Tuesday from Hofstra Softball Stadium starting at 4 p.m.
Following the two games versus the Blue Devils, Hofstra will also host Lehigh in a twin-bill on Wednesday starting at 3:30 p.m. The Pride enters the week 18-12 overall and in sole possession of first place in the Colonial Athletic Association with an 8-0 league mark following a three-game weekend road sweep at Delaware. The team's winning streak is the longest since last year's unit won 16 in a row.
Head coach Bill Edwards' team is 8-1 at home this season and will look to sustain momentum versus a CCSU squad that is 20-12. If both teams pitch their ace in the opener, Game 1 will feature two hurlers with sub-2 ERAs. Hofstra junior Olivia Galati (13-5) has won her last 11 starts en route to earning two CAA Player of the Week and a pair of Pitcher of the Week awards since March 26.
Galati picked up four wins in Hofstra's 6-0 showing last week The West Babylon, N.Y. native posted a 0.58 earned run average in five appearances in the circle. In 24 1/3 innings, Galati struck out 45 batters while walking just one. She allowed just two earned runs on the week, with both coming in a complete-game win over Rutgers.
Galati leads the CAA with a 1.48 ERA, striking out 162 in 128 innings while throwing seven shutouts. She could potentially face CCSU's Laura Messina, who is 14-6 with a 1.73 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .208 off her, compared to the .190 average against Galati.
In the all-time series, Hofstra leads CCSU, 6-4. When Lehigh visits Hempstead, the Mountain Hawks will carry in a 24-14 record, marking back-to-back visiting teams that have already cracked the 20-win plateau this season.
To support the pitching, Hofstra has seen a potent offense produce impressive numbers. Overall, the Pride out-scored the Blue Hens, 21-2 in the sweep. Overall, Hofstra has almost doubled up opponents in runs with a 160-86 advantage. In CAA play, the Pride leads the run advantage, 69-15 (out-hitting league foes, .389-.167).
Junior outfielder Rachael Senatore continues to pace Hofstra's offense from the leadoff spot. Since March 17, the Sparta, N.J. native has raised her average 68 points to her current team-leading .346 figure. Senatore registered 14 hits in the Pride's last seven games, including two four-hit contests in CAA matchups versus Drexel and at Delaware. Senatore is one of four Hofstra players to score 20 or more runs this season.
Fellow junior outfielder Tessa Ziemba has been one of Hofstra's hottest hitters in providing middle-of-the-order protection. Ziemba has six multi-RBI games in the last 12 contests. Her home runs in back-to-back games at Rutgers and versus Binghamton, respectively, gave her six long balls on the season. She trails Becca Bigler by only one for the team lead. After driving in three runs in the Pride's three-game sweep at Delaware, Ziemba leads Hofstra with 23 RBIs. Her .624 slugging percentage is second in the CAA behind only JMU's Ashley Burnham.
Senior pitcher Erin Wade has given Hofstra quality pitching depth. Wade (5-7) has won her last four starts and carries a 3.01 ERA into the week. Whoever is pitching, the pride will try and get another performance from the top of the order that marked the last game at Delaware. The starting 1-through-5 hitters (Senatore, Bigler, Galati, Ziemba and freshman Erin Trippi) combined to go 14-for-17 with all nine of Hofstra's RBIs in a 9-0 win. The quintet scored seven runs and drew two walks.
Trippi was named the CAA's Rookie of the Week for a second time on Monday. The Lyndurst, N.J. native is batting .271 with two home runs, 15 RBIs and a .424 slugging percentage. She is one of six regulars to have a slugging percentage better than .400.
A veteran-laden Hofstra team also saw a contribution from another freshman last time out. Lindsey Reid made the most of her second career start. Playing in front of her family, the Bear, Del. product made her homecoming successful by lining her first collegiate extra-base hit, ripping a triple to right field and scoring her first career run in the Pride's 9-0 victory at Delaware on April 8. Reid started at second base and batted eighth.